Governor Tom Wolf announced $1 million in federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grant funding to programs offering supportive services to veterans suffering from opioid use disorder and their families. The grants are part of the $55.9 million SAMSHA grant secured by the Wolf Administration to bolster the state’s response to the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic.
“Pennsylvania is fortunate to have such a large and diverse veteran population,” said Gov. Tom Wolf. “However, many of our great patriots have fallen on hard times and need assistance overcoming addiction and the effects of substance use disorder (SUD). These grants will fuel increased efforts from these organizations to provide additional critical help across the commonwealth. These seven grant recipients, along with many other partner organizations, will ensure our veterans have a brighter future.”
“We thank Secretary Smith and the entire team from the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) for their advocacy and assistance securing these grants for so many veterans who are struggling with substance use disorder,” said Maj. Gen. Anthony Carrelli, Pennsylvania’s adjutant general and head of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “This partnership effort with DDAP resulted in an extra $1 million of grant money this year on top of our normal Veterans Trust Fund grants. This will provide additional essential programs and services to our needy Pennsylvania veterans.”
“Statistics show that veterans across the commonwealth are suffering from substance use disorder at an alarming rate,” said DDAP Secretary Jen Smith. “Because of this, we must ensure that treatment services and recovery supports are available specifically to serve this population. These grants will allow a wide variety of services to veterans and their families and give veterans the necessary tools to succeed even after treatment and into their recovery.”
The seven grantees provide programs focused on treatment and recovery, homelessness, suicide prevention, and other services in support of veterans dealing with SUD.
The following are the seven grant recipients:
Jarett Yoder Foundation (Berks County – $50,000)
This organization provides housing and other services to veterans in need. Many of the veterans who they assist are struggling with drug and alcohol issues. The grant money will be used to provide expenses for the housing, case management services, drug and alcohol testing, peer-to-peer support services, group therapy sessions, and transportation costs specific to veterans who they assist struggling with an opioid addiction.
Just for Today Recovery and Veterans Support Services (Cumberland County – $333,500)
This organization offers safe, structured, and compassionate housing, fellowship, and recovery resources to anyone in need. They also provide certified recovery specialist training, continuing education credits, and advocacy for the entire Central Pennsylvania recovery community. With the grant, they plan to expand their existing services as well as add new services to directly assist veterans struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, and homelessness.
Robert M. Jackson Veterans Center (Dauphin County – $25,000)
This organization assists homeless veterans and their families in need of services to develop a resilient, self-sufficient lifestyle. They provide community services and shelter in and around the greater Harrisburg area. With the grant funds they plan to address the opioid crisis by providing housing services as well as supportive services through a program that will assist veterans in meeting residential, social, educational, and vocational needs.
Treatment Court Advocacy Center of Lackawanna County (Lackawanna County – $50,000)
The Center provides assistance to individual participants in the various Lackawanna County Treatment/Problems Solving Courts as they seek to overcome obstacles in achieving sober, drug-free, productive lives. With the funding, this organization will provide case management, family assessments, and family service plans to veterans suffering from opioid use.
Valhalla Veterans Services (Lackawanna County – $25,000)
This organization provides a program that delivers the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training workshops to veterans at no cost. They also provide counseling services and resilience and cognitive behavioral techniques to veteran inmates in need. With the funding, they will train veterans and veteran helpers to become first responders for suicide.
Veterans Multi-Service Center (Philadelphia County – $416,500)
The Center offers services such as veteran employment, housing, a women veterans center, and assistance with veterans benefits. Since inception, this organization has grown to now serve over 6,500 veterans and families annually. The grant will support recovery support peer specialists who will train program staff and participants on opioid overdose.
Veterans Place of Washington Boulevard (Allegheny County – $100,000)
This organization is dedicated to ending homelessness among veterans in the Pittsburgh region; and to meeting the emerging needs of low income and other at-risk veterans and families. The grant will be used to fund the implementation of an opioid response program under the Veterans Resource Center; and to connect veterans to treatment as well as playing a part in reducing the number of overdose related deaths through education, prevention, treatment, and recovery activities for veterans with an opioid use disorder.